A new study has highlighted the little-known danger of babies being left to sleep in car seats even when they're not traveling.
Most parents among you will give almost anything for your little ones to kick back and get a few hours of solid sleep, especially if you have newborns. New arrivals have absolutely no concept of sleeping for eight hours a night. That's why as long as they aren't sleeping anywhere that they are going to come to any harm, if they have dozed off then we are happy to leave them to it.
The trouble is, one of the places many babies tend to fall asleep and be left to their own devices isn't as safe as it seems. Their car seat. A study published in Pediatrics, and reported on by Today, has highlighted some worrying statistics that show just how dangerous letting your little one sleep in a car seat while not in the car actually is.
Researchers examined 11,779 infant deaths between 2004 and 2014 in the US. 348 of those deaths occurred while the baby was in a sitting device. That might seem like a relatively low percentage, but 63% of those 348 deaths occurred while the infants were in car safety seats, the place where most parents would assume their children are at their safest.
You'd likely assume that a large chunk of those deaths happened in car accidents, but that is also alarmingly not so. Only 10% of the infant deaths that occurred in car seats happened in the car. That's exactly why leaving your baby to sleep in a car seat when you don't have to has been flagged. While experts are unsure as to why it seems to be so unsafe, they hypothesize that it's a combination of the baby not being led flat and being restricted by straps.
Even though the authors of the study are now urging parents to not leave their babies to sleep in car seats when they don't have to, they are also hammering home that while in the car, it is by far the safest place to be. There is not a better alternative when it comes to traveling with a baby. Plus, since at least one person will always be in the car along with them, there will always be someone to check on them, at least periodically.